Achilles tendon ruptures can happen to anyone, not only to athletes or people who are often involved in athletic activities. It is an injury that involves the back part of your lower leg. Overstretching your Achilles tendon through certain activities or an accident is often the culprit of tearing the tendon entirely or partially.
If your Achilles tendon ruptures, it can affect your ability to walk. There are nonsurgical and surgical treatments to address this injury, and you have to consult an orthopedic surgeon to determine which approach will work best for you. The determining factors for your treatment include your overall health, activity level, and the severity of your injury.
Nonsurgical treatments focus on immobilizing your lower leg and ankle. You can do this by using a brace, cast, splint, walking boot, or other orthotic devices that will restrain movement.
A nonsurgical approach typically involves:
- Using crutches to give the tendon rest
- Applying ice on the affected area
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
- Using a cast or a walking boot with a heel wedge to keep the ankle from moving
Nonsurgical treatments prevent the risks linked with surgical approaches, such as infection. However, recovery may take longer. There is an increased chance that your injury may reoccur if it does not heal completely, so it is crucial to get check-ups and an all-clear from your physician before resuming regular activities.
For surgical treatments, the goal is to stitch the tendon back together. In some instances, the damaged parts (or the entire tendon) may need to be detached and displaced with tissues taken from another section of your body. Patients who choose surgical approaches are generally younger and more active, particularly athletes or those with severe tendon injuries. In comparison, older or less active people are more likely to opt for nonsurgical treatments.
The two types of surgery used to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon are:
- Open surgery, involves making a single large incision behind the ankle to make repairs to the tendon.
- Percutaneous surgery, involves making several small incisions to make repairs to the tendon.
The surgeon stitches the tendon back together through the incision(s). Your surgeon may also delay the surgery about a week following the rupture to let the inflammation subside.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation after surgical or nonsurgical treatments help you improve your condition and speed up recovery. With the guidance of a physical therapist, you will perform exercises that aim to strengthen your Achilles tendon and leg muscles. Most patients are able to revert to their previous level of activity within four to six months with the help of physical therapy. It’s also crucial to continue your exercises after returning to your normal level of activity because some problems can persist for up to a year after injury.
Achilles Tendon Rupture Treatment in Maryland
Accomplishing your daily activities will be more challenging without a fully functioning Achilles tendon because this component of your leg allows you to bend your foot and toes in a downward motion, which in turn enables you to jump, sprint, and walk. Therefore, taking care of your Achilles tendon and finding the right treatments are crucial if you suffer an injury.
At Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland, we deliver customized, quality treatment for Achilles tendon injuries. Our orthopedic experts and board-certified physicians recognize the importance of getting the diagnosis and treatments right, which involves thorough and correct diagnostics and an exploration of all treatment options.
To make an appointment, call us at (410) 644-1880 or request an appointment online.